Having played on simulators for over 20 years I have developed my own personal program that I continue to adapt. Here’s what I recommend for drivers who are looking to benefit from using a Simulator at home:
Try to limit your daily sim sessions to a maximum of 120 minutes. Anything longer and you’ll find yourself doing mindless (and therefore useless) laps. My ideal daily stint is 90 minutes.
The first thing I do when I start my session is 5 flying up laps with the same car + track combination. For example I always use a Ferrari 458 GT3 around Suzuka on Medium tires. By starting with this routine I am immediately aware of my baseline performance for the day.
Once I’ve completed by 5 lap warm up I proceed to the Online Race lobbies and look for a race I enjoy however before I enter the race I do 15 minutes of practice (or qualifying) laps around the track to prepare. I never just dive into a race and start at the back of the grid because I have found that you end up spending your time crashing instead of learning.
With Qualifying Practice complete I head into the online races. Most of them on Gran Turismo are quick, 5 – 9 laps, and if you’ve done a decent qualifying lap you will be matched with drivers of a similar pace. The benefit of competing in 2 – 3 races is you will improve your racecraft that you can apply directly to your racing in real life.